With a roster full of young, inexperienced talent, Harlem boys basketball coach Kim Chambers knew he'd be fighting an uphill battle when it came time to play through the region schedule.
Chambers and Harlem fans saw just how competitive the Region 3N-AAA schedule was on Tuesday night in a 68-54 loss to rival Thomson. They also saw a sign of hope.
"That's what I told them. We made a good run, and that was something to be proud of," Chambers said.
The run came after Thomson had a 59-41 lead to start the fourth quarter. During the next four minutes, five Harlem Bulldogs scored and the 18-point Thomson lead had dwindled to a six-point margin with four minutes left in the game.
Thomson eventually held on for the win, but it was a bit of a wake-up call for coach Michael Thomas and his visiting Bulldogs that even Harlem, a team with a 3-10 record, can be considered competitive in the subregion.
"It's tough as always," he said. "The basketball coaches in this region know every night out you better be on your game."
Harlem sophomore Cedric Boatner was on his game Tuesday night and led the home team with 16 points. Senior Kenny Stampley added 15.
Still, it wasn't enough to keep Thomson from improving to 2-0 in subregion play.
Chambers said the key to his team's improvement, and possible climb in the subregion standings, can be found in a recent college football game.
"It's like the Boise State game," he said. "They run five plays, and they execute them perfectly. That's what we need to concentrate on. You can run the same plays over and over and win as long as you execute them."
The same strong region competition that the Harlem boys will face is also in the future for the Lady Bulldogs. Harlem's girls lost a 59-56 contest to Thomson on Tuesday night for the home team's second subregion loss of the season.
Harlem girls basketball coach Shari Colley said the reason for the loss was simple.
"We just need to cut down on the turnovers. We had 15 turnovers in the first half," she said.
While the Lady Bulldogs struggled to maintain possession, Thomson ran its offense flawlessly. Guard Domonique Reese exploded for 18 points on six 3-pointers and highlighted a team 3-point shooting performance that produced almost half of Thomson's points.
"There was nothing we could do about that. We tried four or five different defenses," Colley said.
Senior Nicole Wells scored a game-high 23 points in the loss, while Kelley Hamilton also reached double figures with 10 points.
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